Taipei (Taiwan) - Everyone is waiting for Intel’s quad-core, eight-thread Nehalem processor later this year and we got a little sneak peak at the processor’s stability and speed at a closed door meeting with Intel employees. A test machine rendered high-definition video and seamlessly scrolled, panned and zoomed into thousands of photos without breaking a sweat. Perhaps even more impressive is that the processor was insanely overclocked and aircooled, according to Intel’s Francois Piednoel.
The test machine ran on two Intel solid state drives that were in Raid 0 configuration for ultimate speed. First, Piednoel wowed us with one to two second load times of various Microsoft Office programs like Words and Excel. He then loaded Sony Vegas 8 in about two seconds- as users of Sony Vegas ourselves this was quite impressive! Piednoel then started fast forwarding through a large video file and the Vegas timeline and preview window were updating instantly.
Digital camera addicts know the pain of organizing and viewing digital pictures. The average camera today probably takes a minimum of eight to ten megapixel pixels and this means you’re left with gigabytes of data after any major event. Multiply that by the number of events in your life and you get "terrascale computing" according to Piednoel. Clicking into folders and hunting for the picture in Windows Explorer just won’t cut it, so he demonstrated a prototype touch screen that made us drool.
The touch screen was actually a prototype ’touch-sensitive’ overlay on top of a regular LCD monitor - Heck we could even see the green circuit board, wire tracks and chips. The screen doesn’t really response to pressure, but sensors along the edges of the display tracked hand and finger motions.
Piednoel scrolled through a map by dragging his finger along the screen. He then called up a calendar and pictures were superimposed onto the date. Pictures of the Intel booth from this year’s CES were easily found by going to January and then zooming into the week, day and eventually the specific set of pictures. All of this happened smoothly without any pauses, crashes or other problems.
"This is rock solid stable," Intel’s Nick Knupffer told us. But what he couldn’t tell us was the speed of the processor. Our sources close to Intel confirmed that the Nehalem processor in the machine ran at a very impressive speed.
If we had to guess, we’d bet that Intel is prepping these processors as part of an updated Skulltrail platform (let’s call it Skulltrail II). So imagine this, two four-core CPUs capable of 8 threads each - and the processors would be air-cooled to boot. The current Skulltrail systems use two Intel Core 2 Extreme quad-core processors that can be easily overclocked to 4 GHz and beyond.